The Catholic Church Should Burn

Cristiano

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It seems to me that when you have an environment where you have people in authority positions who claim moral superiority infused from a higher power and wield the threat of eternal damnation as a motivator, abuse is rampant. It's a broader problem with most religions (not all, but Christianity's not faring so well in this regard), where you have an imbalance of power steeped in mythology mixed with money and control.
 
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Sid

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Power and abuse of power go hand in hand. Whether it is for money, sex or both.
Everywhere. In all kinds of situations and layers of society.
Churches should be, but are no exceptions.
 

Cristiano

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Power and abuse of power go hand in hand. Whether it is for money, sex or both.
Everywhere. In all kinds of situations and layers of society.
Churches should be, but are no exceptions.
Certain professions also seem to attract abusers - you see it with many professions with authority figures - police, teachers, clergy, etc..
 

Sid

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Certain professions also seem to attract abusers - you see it with many professions with authority figures - police, teachers, clergy, etc..
I don't think it is so much that these professions attract abusers. It is that these professions put people in a position of power.
And a percentage of the human kind are simply power abusers, when put in the right or better wrong situation. Think of domestic violence and child abuse, things that happen in offices etc.
 

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It could well be an improvement. I'm a Lutheran, a product of the first Reformation. And, as far as I know, we don't have all of the problems prevalent in the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Church accepts many current scientific principles, like say evolution, and has stated they do not conflict with their belief. Some Lutherans, however...

As for the present discussion, the Lutheran Church is not without its scandals.

Lutheran female bishop resigns in pedophile cover-up scandal
Minnesota Lutherans demand change following pastor sex scandal | City Pages
Lutheran Church Abuse Victims Receive $69 Million Settlement

Is it as widespread? Probably not, but institutions of any sort are by their nature all about protecting themselves and their reputations, not their members.
 

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Institutions by their nature do prefer to protect their own. The Catholic Church takes a rather formal and structured stance which gives it a level of efficiency not seen in other churches. NPR's This American Life provided an inside view to how this happened in 2010:
Confession - This American Life

It is all the more frustrating with a church that takes an active role in politics and tries to dictate its theology as a moral imperative. It does so when the church itself practices moral relativism by treating the members of its hierarchy differently from its other memberships.

(Also, welcome back Ms. Arylin!)
 

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It could well be an improvement. I'm a Lutheran, a product of the first Reformation. And, as far as I know, we don't have all of the problems prevalent in the Catholic Church.
Abuse by Clergy Is Not Just a Catholic Problem

", a former Lutheran minister from this small East Texas city has pleaded guilty to federal child pornography charges and faces state charges of sexually assaulting a teenage boy. A civil lawsuit accuses Lutheran officials of ignoring past incidents involving the pastor, Gerald Patrick Thomas Jr., and says they bear responsibility for his actions, a claim the national church strongly rejects.:


It happens in every denomination/religious group. It happens in public schools and day care centers. It even happens in families. I think the difference is how it's handled. And I really think the reason we hear about it in the Catholic Church so much is partly because of how badly they handled these situations - by just shuffling the priests around and hushing things up, and because it's just fashionable to hate on the Catholic Church.

Separating Facts About Clergy Abuse From Fiction

Four Important Facts to Keep in Mind

"1. No empirical data exists that suggests that Catholic clerics sexually abuse minors at a level higher than clerics from other religious traditions or from other groups of men who have ready access and power over children (e.g., school teachers, coaches). "

"The best available data reports that 4 percent of Catholic priests sexually violated a minor child during the last half of the 20th century with the peak level of abuse being in the 1970s and dropping off dramatically by the early 1980s. And in the recent Pennsylvania grand jury report only two cases were reported in the past dozen years that were already known and dealt with by authorities (thus the grand jury report is about historical issues and not about current problems of active clerical abuse now). Putting clergy abuse in context, research from the US Department of Education found that about 5-7 percent of public school teachers engaged in similar sexually :
So, if a child is more likely to be sexually abused in public school - then how come nobody is screaming for the public school system to be burned to the ground, and unlike church - the law says you HAVE to send your kids to school.
 

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I'm not sure that would be the solution either. I've heard it a lot in the last few years, people implying that celibacy rules are somehow "turning priests into" pedos, or that many of them who abuse children aren't really pedophiles at all but have just settled for children because they're the only available option and the priest just needs sex from somewhere, anywhere; but I don't believe that for a second, because priests aren't supposed to be raping kids any more than having sex with consenting adults. Honestly, if you ask me, once a priest has decided to break the celibacy rule, he's basically freed himself to seek sex from wherever he prefers to get it from, and that includes adult men or women. In fact, we know for certain that many priests who break their vow choose to go this route; yesterday I happened to see this article on CNN, about the new revelation that the Catholic Church has secret, special policy guidelines on how to proceed when a priest ends up fathering a child due to an illicit affair. So the celibacy isn't making priests into pedophiles or abusers. They were already that way.

I don't think celibacy is the problem policy. I think absolution and the inviolability of the confessional is the problem. All a priest has to do is confess having molested a parishioner child to his boss-priest and just like that, curtain of secrecy immediately comes down; the church authorities are conveniently "prohibited" from notifying police - or cooperating, if the police find out anyway - and the most they can do is remove him from the parish and send him somewhere else. Usually to some different parish where he has to do some BS administrative penance for a while before getting back to his regular priest-job where he's interacting with kids again in a new place.
I don’t think the celibacy rule turns priests into pedophiles. Instead, the rule is cover for sexually immature or deviant men, whose will be socially rewarded instead of challenged for lacking a healthy, appropriate sexual life. Again, that certainly does not describe all celibate people.

I also don’t place the blame on confession. From what I’ve read, very few rapist priests confess their crimes. Instead, I blame the Catholic church’s idea that it can provide spiritual redemption and forgiveness that trumps secular justice. This isn’t a cause of the abuse, but IMO it allows the abuse to perpetuate.
 

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Decentralize church authority and let the nuns run it collectively. No popes, no priests, no problems.
I grew up in the Catholic church and went to Catholic school in the early 1950's when the Nuns still wore the long robes and long habits. The portrayal of these Nuns in the movie Blues Brothers while comic was straight on. They were the meanest, most abusive bunch of women I've ever encountered in my life. I can't count the times I was slapped with rulers or locked in the dark coat closet for stupid shit I did that in today's world would probably be laughed at.
I was lucky, none of the abuse was ever sexual, just basic ear pulling, hair pulling, spanking, ruler slapping and being locked away.

Honestly, I'm with Sid and Lord Acton on this: Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Churches and other institutions that we "trust" our children to have power over our children and as parents, grandparents and just people who love children, we should never forget that.
 

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We can't stop enough people from empowering corrupt institutions, they believe (sometimes truthfully) that they benefit just enough justify their blind loyalty.

It's a no win situation. Corrupt people and institutions lie, cheat, steal... and their more ethical, benign and accountable alternatives don't have a level playing field on which to compete.

Abolishing the Catholic Church would be grand, at first, but their disenfranchised members would no doubt glom onto one of the younger, less tolerant, more radical and hungry institutions... Perpetuating and likely exacerbating the same abuses, along with new ones.

Likewise, stupid libertarians who think that shrinking government to "drownable in a bathtub size" is anything other than a recipe for corporate robber barons seizing direct and dominant control over the country.

The honor system libertarians believer in doesn't work because there's a critical mass of people who simply aren't honorable, and they will band together to exploit those who are.

The best we can manage is to be active in our own institutions, attack problems from within, and hope that they remain strong enough to prevent worse institutions from becoming monopolies.
 

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Honestly, I'm with Sid and Lord Acton on this: Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
:qft:

The problem is not unique to the Catholic Church, or to the Christian church in general. It happens quite a lot in the secular world as well. It's just that the mechanisms in which the Church operates has the ability to hide each problem until the problem becomes too big to hide, more so than in, say, public education, where the instinct is to put even small problems on blast. That is, there's more whistle-blowers in the public school system than there are in the Church, and the Church tends to be more cloistered than the secular world.
 
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Beebo Brink

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Part of what makes the abuses so heinous is that they're committed by men who claim absolute moral authority over all other people. They use their privilege to both protect themselves and to prey on others. Such a tidy little package of cruelty, hypocrisy and arrogance.
 

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I'm sorry if I offended anybody. I just think that if the Catholic Church were to go away suddenly tomorrow because of the abuse it would need to be replaced by *something*; and that *something* would need to offer similar spirituality to the 1.2 billion world Catholics in terms of worship and liturgy, but structured radically different in an effort to chase down current problems. I think the catholic churches current disgusting stance toward folk catholic traditions stems from institutional anxiety over this very thing.


Edit: and the I'm sorry part isn't sarcasm. Seriously, I'm really sorry if my suggestion caused memories of nun abuse pain!
 
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Rose Karuna

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I'm sorry if I offended anybody. I just think that if the Catholic Church were to go away suddenly tomorrow because of the abuse it would need to be replaced by *something*; and that *something* would need to offer similar spirituality to the 1.2 billion world Catholics in terms of worship and liturgy, but structured radically different in an effort to chase down current problems. I think the catholic churches current disgusting stance toward folk catholic traditions stems from institutional anxiety over this very thing.


Edit: and the I'm sorry part isn't sarcasm. Seriously, I'm really sorry if my suggestion caused memories of nun abuse pain!
No bad feelings coming from me, I laugh about it now. OTOH - I would never allow it to happen to any child I knew of today.

I just thought that I should point out that some of the women in the Catholic church were as abusive as some of the men.

I should also say that one of the most influential individuals in my life was a fellow named Farther Charles Maloney. No abuse, just kindness and a lot of time spent teaching me and introducing me to scientific and philosophical concepts that I'd have never learned without him which profoundly impacted my life for the better. So there were good people in the Catholic church too.

The biggest failing was in the church's hierarchy, where "church officials" covered up abuse, rape and other bad things that priests and nuns did. It was not just the mental and physical abuse though, but also a violation of trust that ordinary lay people put into the church and anyone connected with the church. It was a terrible violation of trust. Even though I'm a vocal atheist, I'm not sure I can get over that violation of trust.
 
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I can't decide how much of the "catholics do it MORE" is based on just the disparate nature of protestant churches and how much is othering catholics. I also find it bizarre that people blame celibacy -- plenty of people are celibate and they don't abuse children or adults. (Though it may help abusers avoid the usual questioning about why they're not married, I suppose?)

(Disclosure: I'm an atheist, but they tried to make me Church of Scotland when I was growing up.)
 

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I've often wondered if people who are twisted sexually - like pedophiles - choose to go into the priesthood because of the celibacy requirement - they think they'll be protected from acting on those urges, and instead their put in situation of constant temptation.

I also have noticed when this sort of thing comes out in the Catholic Church it hits the national news. When it happens in other communions it rarely hits in the national news. Several years ago, the assistant principal of Lancaster Mennonite High School was convicted of molesting three international students, and I don't think the story travelled any farther than Philadelphia news - except in Mennonite publications. And NONE of them discussed the fact that he would actually make regular trips to South Korea to recruit victims errr I mean students. And when I used to go to court as part of my job regularly - I can't tell you how many child sex abuse cases I sat through that never made the paper at all. I can also tell you, that out of hundreds of cases, I never saw a member of the clergy. It was almost always a family member or someone close to the family. I think twice it was a school official.